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Control is forcing events and people into your way of doing things. Control is the great mask of insecurity. People who use this behavior are deathly afraid of letting others be who they are, so the controller is constantly making demands that keep others off balance. The underlying idea is "If they keep paying attention to me, they won't run away." When you find yourself making excuses for yourself and blaming others, or when you feel inside that no one is showing you enough gratitude or appreciation, the fault is not with them -- you are exhibiting a need to control. The external signs of this behavior come from those you are trying to control: They are tense and resistant; they complain of not being listened to; they call you a perfectionist or a demanding boss.
Control begins to end when you admit that your way isn't automatically the right way. You can tune in to your need for control by catching yourself complaining, blaming, or insisting that no one is right but you, and coming up with one excuse after another to prove that you are without blame yourself. Once you stop controlling them, the people around you begin to breathe easy. They relax and laugh. They feel free to be who they are without looking to you for approval.
Behavior can be controlling when we simply can't resist the urge to do something; often a loved one is the best person to point out this behavior. In this video, psychologist Erin Olivo, PhD, explains how you can recognize controlling behavior.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.